The Husband rolls his eyes whenever I say I’m going to buy my favorite cheap eat: falafels, from the store right across the street. I don’t know what is it about these Middle Eastern balls that make them so addicting.
But for 1 AED for 3 pieces of filling crispy vegetarian yet not-so-healthy, deep-fried garlicky and secret spiced chick pea balls, it ain’t bad at all for people like the meantime-housewife-me on a meager budget.
I’ve been going to this falafel joint for months ever since I’ve landed here in Dubai. Never a week passes by without my fill of this Middle Eastern street food treat, so I am obviously a loyal customer. Whenever I drop by I get the standard free 1-piece of falafel and a friendly “how are you?” plus a charming smile from the Arab staff. Regulars get freebies all the time, right?
But I didn’t think all regulars do get some serious pick-up lines until last night…
I came down in my fuschia-orange-white polka dotted board shorts, which in my opinion weren’t too short for Dubai conservative comfort, to buy falafels and hummus (Yes, they also sell Hummus – creamy chick pea dip – and Foul – fabulous melt-in-your-mouth fava beans by the way) as our potluck share for an intimate birthday celebration.
“30 pieces of falafel and a Hummus Beirutie (Hummus mixed with parsley and lemon juice) please.” I smiled and said.
Of course, the falafel man responded by handing me my standard free 1-piece falafel, a friendly smile and “How are you?” like all the other falafel runs I’ve done. Since I ordered quite a lot of falafels, they (there were two falafel men manning the store) asked me to take a seat as they cooked my falafels-to-go. Then they started a friendly conversation with their difficult to understand thick Arabic accents, which went like this:
Falafel man 1: Where are you from? Philippines?
Me: Yes, I’m Filipina.
Falafel man 1 and Falafel man 2 exchanged knowing looks with a mischievous twinkle in the theirs as I said the word “Filipina”
Falafel man 1: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: (Laughs) No, but I’m married (I flashed my wedding ring along with a proud smile)
Falafel man 1: Is your husband from Philippine also?
Me: Yes…my husband is Filipino too. Why? (I kind of raised a friendly eyebrow by now. And secretly squirming in my polka-dotted board shorts)
Falafel man 2: So is your husband here?
Me: My husband is here. That’s why I am here.(nervous smile)
Falafel man 2: Ohhh. So Filipino (husband) number 1, and you can have a number 2?
Me: What? (Insert nervous laughter)
Falafel man 1: Filipino husband number 1 and have a number 2?
Me: I don’t quite understand…
Fortunately, a new customer cut the conversation short as I seriously was getting nervous at their at advances. Was it because of my polka-dotted board shorts? Or was it because I revealed I was Filipina? Are the reputations of Filipinas in Dubai this wicked (And I don’t mean wicked in the cool sense)?
Falafel man 1 interrupted my thoughts as he handed over the plastic bag filled with a hot brown paper bag of 30-pieces of falafels, a bowl of Hummus Beirutie and a stack of Arabic bread. I quickly shuffled my feet out the falafel store door back to our wee flat across the street, and I told this story to The Husband.
I got a bit of a scolding for wearing those polka-dotted board shorts in the falafel store. So never again shall those shorts be worn in succeeding falafel runs. Of course, I still have to have those falafels. I am really addicted to them, aren’t I?
Delirious about delicious,